Hola amigos! This post will be a little more visual meaning more photos and less text in order to not make this post too long. Anyways, the photos I will be showing you all below are of Volcano Villarica and Parque Nacional Huerquehue. They are not the best quality since they were taken on my camcorder and my 16GB iPhone had ran out of space so I could not use it. Regardless, I hope you guys enjoy the photos.
I want to say this was about the 2 hour mark right here and the snow was getting steeper. We were told to take a break, but also to put on our crampons (“crampones”) which is a spiking, metal plate that you attach to your boots making it easier to walk up the snow. This is when the REAL hike began.
Looks so close, but I can assure you that is just an illusion. Each time we would look up and think that we’d reach the top any minute now, but the steep snow had us climbing for hours just to get a little closer.
Looking back at all we had climbed already
Really steep spot we had to be careful not to slip and slide down.
Handsome fella equipped with snow jacket, helmet, poorly-placed scarf, fanny pack with my camcorder inside, ice axe (to help us climb up), shin protections (to not tear your pants with the crampons), and, of course, the boats plus crampons. Everything but the scarf and fanny pack was included. Also remember to bring your own pair of sunglasses because the sun reflects off the snow and can burn your eyes. My guide told us that we could not climb without sunglasses, but luckily someone gave me an extra pair.
Group photo (5 hour mark). Most of my photos are taken during our breaks because filming while trying to climb is pretty difficult. Especially if you do not want to fall and possibly die….you know.
Mountains and lakes in the distance. I believe this is Parque Huerquehue which I visited the next day, but I could be wrong.
Our last break at the 6 hour mark. We have a little more than hour of climbing left. We are all tired and exhausted. My legs were cramping up so much.
Reaching the volcano (7 hour mark)
Kind of disappointing in reality. Lava was barely invisible.
The gas was really strong.
The mountain in the distance is actually a part of Argentina.
Heading down the volcano. We started to put our sled equipment on. I did not take any pictures of it, but the sled was more like a sack that you put on your backside and strap around your legs. You also have this plastic, conch-shaped thing that is about the size of your torso. That is technically your slide, but you can also slide down without it and just use the sack. I think it is faster with the plastic however.
Lacking back at the volcano after sledding down. In total the whole trip was about 8 hours. 7 hours hiking up and about 45 minutes sledding down.
Parque Nacional Huerquehue (next day)
“Welcome to Huerquehue National Park” – Located in the Valdivian temperate forest of the La Aracuanía region in Southern Chile. Huerquehue is Mapudungun (language of the Mapuche people) for “the messenger’s place”.
View of Tinquilco Lake from higher ground. Tinquilco is the first lake all visiters encounter first before seeing the three other big lakes in the park.
Conveniently placed logs as a resting area unfortunately seeing that we had to get on the bus back to Pucón by 5pm, we did not have much time for resting.
Standing on a broken dock and enjoying the view
The area in front of the dock. This section was very open unlike the rest of the park. Also you may be able to partially see the shacks behind the trees. They small hostels for those who plan to stay several nights in the park (seeing as some of the trails are several days long) and also farmland (which I think are owned by the hostel caretakers). We saw several pigs and sheep in this area.
Reaching a small bridge
Huge mountain in the distance
We could have attempted to cross, but my friend who loves bird saw a sign that he doubt meant “Refugee for birds” and went quickly in that direction, but it turned out to be a hostel.
Feels like we’re looking for the Blair Witch out here.
“Hey guess what, the 40 minutes or so of walking you just did was not even the actual park yet” was what the sign should have said. Still being worn out from the volcano, seeing that we had JUST reached the actual park was a kick to the head. However, if all the cool stuff we seen was before the park, then the inside must be even better.
We are now reaching the “Tres Lagos” (“Three Lakes”) and if I am correct that is Lago Chico in the distance. Not exactly sure to be honest.
Reaching the lake after about an hour and a half of walking.
Group photo of the guys (Spain, France and U.S. united in one picture)
After a bit more walking, we reach Lago Toro. The photo does not do it just, but the water was really clear and beautiful. We decided to lay on a bunch of boulders and relax here for a bit.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js We were making a slight detour heading to Laguna Los Patos until we realized it was 3:30pm and we did not have much time to see it so we turned to continue with the original path which eventually leads back to the exit.
Nothing like sitting directly in front of a waterfall and letting the breeze from the water blow past you.
After this waterfall, my camcorder’s battery had died and I was unable to get a picture of the second waterfall we visited. Thankfully, the battery lasted to get a good amount of photos.
Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed these photos and they gave a good representation of how my weekend was like in Pucón. Furthermore, I hope I am influencing at least of few of you to tryout Chile. I can say with honesty that before coming here I knew nothing about Chile and for the time I have been here, it has come to grow to be like a home away from home. It’s going to be sad to go when the time comes, but I will have all these awesome memories to look back fondly at.